I responded to a call for a condemned boiler. “The TSSA (Technical Standards and Safety) will be on site,” I had been advised by our service department. When I arrived an elderly woman and her niece emerged from a parked vehicle and made their way slowly to the door of the house.

“I am a little slow, dizzy,” the older woman said while leaning on the stair rail.

“I just picked her up from the hospital,” the niece added.

We went into a cold house. I told them I had some electric heaters in the car to keep the pipes from freezing.

“What were you in the hospital for?” I innocently questioned.

“Carbon Monoxide poisoning,” The elderly woman answered while turning abruptly to face me.

“My son died.”

“When? Did he die from Carbon Monoxide?” I stammered.

“Yes,” she answered lowering her head, “yesterday.”

“Did you have Carbon Monoxide detectors?”

“He unplugged them to work with his tools in the basement,” the niece answered while steadying her aunt.

“He lied down for a nap on the couch and never woke up.”

The TSSA turned up and we stood outside in the snow discussing the tragedy.

“I will need the boiler,” the inspector told me.

It turned out that the appliance had been recently serviced and was in poor condition but the technician did not want to burden the owner with the cost of a new unit.

We installed a new high efficiency boiler and left the house with carbon monoxide detectors in the furnace room and in the hallway outside the bedrooms.

People ask me if gas furnaces and boilers should be inspected and serviced annually.

“Yes. It is a gas appliance and make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors in place.”

And please use a reliable company. Don’t complain about price. You may be paying to save your life.

A Final Word: Carbon Monoxide poisoning is like falling asleep. You barely know it is happening. But faulty equipment can leak CO into your house in sufficient amounts to make you ill, but still not set off an alarm. You need special equipment and a trained technician to detect trace amounts.

I have been to houses where every occupant was ill with flu symptoms and it was carbon monoxide spilling from the furnace making them sick. We changed the furnace and everyone became well again.

Gas is dangerous. Yes indeed!

Call Laird and Son for expert, reliable and honest service

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